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Vanessa Bryant Eulogizes her husband Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gigi

Vanessa Bryant



It was a somber bittersweet day in the Staples Center in Los Angeles when 20,000 mourners packed into the indoor stadium that the late NBA Player Kobe Bryant built to bid him and his 13-year old daughter Gianna farewell.

His widow Vanessa Bryant, a celebrity mom covered often on the blog, gave a heart breaking but still beautiful eulogy of her husband and daughter. As USA Today summarized in its coverage:

She mourned the loss of her “baby girl” Gianna, “a sweet and gentle soul” and preternaturally talented athlete who she said was destined for WNBA greatness. She remembered her husband as a soulful romantic with a “tender heart” and a “doting” father for whom family always came first.

“They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life,” Vanessa said of Kobe and Gianna, adding: “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

Beyonce Knowles Carter opened the event performing one of her hits, “XO” which she said was one of Kobe’s favorite song with lyrics that go, “In the darkest hour / I’ll search through the crowd / Your face is all I can see / I’ll give you everything.” She later burst into a soulful rendition of her song, “Halo

Alicia Keys moved the crowd by playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” a piece she said was favored by Kobe and Vanessa.

Keys had previously paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna on the night they died, performing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” alongside Boyz II Men at the Grammy Awards last month.

At various points throughout the event, the crowd broke out in chants of “Kobe! Kobe!”

Retired NBA stars Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and Tim Duncan along with entertainer Jennifer Lopez and her fiance retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were all in attendance for the ceremony, along with other celebs like friends of the Bryant family Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

The date chosen for the memorial — Feb. 24, or 2/24/20 — is a combination of their jersey numbers. Gianna wore No. 2 and her dad wore No. 24 in the latter part of his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tickets went for variations of 2 and 4, $24.24 or $224 for two.

Several NBA legends like former teammates  Shaquille O’Neal and Jordon gave rousing speeches by my fave was by University of Oregon player Sabrina Ionesco who gave a wonderful speech and tribute to girls sports too in honor of GiGi .

Proceeds will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation which raises money to provide sports education and training services for young women. The foundation was originally established as the Mamba Sports Academy, but Bryant’s widow announced that the name was changed to honor their daughter.

Kobe Bryant gave himself the moniker “Black Mamba” after a character in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill.

“Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on her Instagram page announcing the name change.

The two were headed to a game during a basketball tournament at a sports arena in Thousand Oaks, California named for Mamba when the helicopter they were riding in crashed killing them along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Sarah Chester, 45, and her daughter Payton Chester, 13; as well as Mamba Sports Academy coach Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

Also from a NBCNews report:

Bryant and his daughter were traveling to Gigi’s basketball game in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, when it crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. All eight passengers and the pilot were killed.

The Bryants were laid to rest in a private ceremony in Southern California on Feb. 7.

Before the public ceremony got underway, the Los Angeles Times reported Vanessa Bryant has filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that operated the chopper. NPR later confirmed the lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said in its investigative update this month that the chopper’s rotors were both powered and turning at the time of impact, which it said indicates “the engines showed no evidences of uncontained or catastrophic internal failure.”

Photos taken shortly after the crash show conditions were foggy in the hills above Calabasas, but as NPR’s Russell Lewis has reported, the final investigative findings are not expected for at least a year.

photos: Getty

WNBA’s Skylar Diggins-Smith Played Pregnant All Season

Dallas Wings Skylar

Dallas Wings Skylar Diggins-Smith

Another professional female athlete who recently had a baby is speaking out about maternity leave treatment they received from the sports industry.

This time, Women’s National Basketball Association  star of the Dallas Wings team, Skylar Diggins-Smith revealed Saturday that she played an entire season while pregnant but was called a “quitter” for taking two months off to cope with postpartum depression after giving birth to her son.

Diggins-Smith, 29, said she played while pregnant throughout the entire five-month 2018 season and “didn’t tell a soul” adding that she was the leading player in the league and averaged 17.9 points and 6.2 assists. She also earned her fourth All-Star slot.

But Diggins-Smith said when she took two months off early this season to spend time with her newborn son and handle postpartum depression, she was slammed as a “quitter” who was giving up on her team.

 

 

Diggins-Smith first announced her pregnancy close to two months following the end of the Wings’ ended its 2018 season back in August.

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HuffPo reports that even though she was scheduled to play in the 2019 season, she never did and it looks like her PPD has some reason to do with it.

 

 

“Under the WNBA collective bargaining agreement, players who become pregnant under contract are to receive half their salary, and their medical expenses are to be covered by insurance, ” according to Yahoo Sports.

It’s unclear if she will return. Diggins-Smith is the latest of several female athletes to speak up. Earlier,  marathoner Alysia Montano complained Nike lessened her pay while on maternity leave, then Allyson Felix co-signed and

Brittney Griner’s Ex & Mom to Couple’s Twin Girls, Glory Johnson is back to Dating Men

glory

We spent a lot of time following the rocky relationship of WNBA‘s Brittney  Griner and ex-wife Glory Johnson. The two got engaged within weeks of having a domestic dispute last April then married a month later. Johnson, got pregnant with twins via artificial insemination only for Griner to file for an annulment before the marriage was even a month old.

Johnson welcomed twin girls Ava Simone and Solei Diem last October, 2015, but Griner denied being their parent.

The Dallas Wings Forward fought back against the Phoenix Mercury star’s claims that she knew nothing about the plans to conceive children. Johnson and won a child support case earlier this year, and Griner was ordered to pay her $40,000 annually.

After all that highly public split, Johnson has moved on and is back to dating men again. Phew!!

She is in a happy relationship with with 30-year-old Christopher Fry, who lives in Seymour, Tennessee – a short distance from her family home in Knoxville, New York Post reports. 

Recall in her petition for an annulment last year, Griner claimed Johnson was cheating on her with man. Hmmm. She probably was on to something back then. doh!

photo collage: Getty/Instagram/NY Post

2015 ESPY Red Carpet (PHOTOS)

espy 2015 red carpet

Yesterday was The 2015 ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California and as usual, we spotted some of the celebrity women we have featured in the past on the Red Carpet before the show. Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Ciara, Mel B and Lisa Leslie all made a turn on the crimson strip.

Kim Kardashian West attended but did not walk the Red Carpet but did have a great seat with all of her family to witness her Step-Dad  the former Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Here is the rundown of what the five who walked the carpet wore:

ciara

I really dug the belted magenta ombre Elie Saab Fall 2014 goddess dress Ciara wore while accompanying her beau NFL’s Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. I thought her Jimmy Choo heels were hawt! She was working that side slit.

halle berry

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry was on hand to present the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Danielle Green, a former Notre Dame basketball player, Iraq war veteran, and Purple Heart recipient. She went with a fit and flare flirty black lace and leather mini dress with bell cuffs.  It was cute. Not the best I’ve seen on her. I didn’t really dig the messy tussled hair with this outfit. I guess she was going for rocker edgy. Meh.

I did love her wrap around ankle Brian Atwood heels and the Sylva and Cie jewels.

britney spears

Britney Spears attended and presented the award to the Best Female Athlete. She looked cute but quite uncomfortable in a fringe sequined Davidson Zanine dress that looked like one of the numbers she wears in her Vegas show. All of the pics showed her with her hands covering her bum

mel b in red

 

 America’s Got Talent judge Mel B (Melanie Brown) looked super gorge in a simple pencil length red hot dress with criscross bodice, red pumps, box clutch and cherry red lipstick. The slick back is perfect for this dress. It’s simple and elegant.

lisa leslie espy

Former WNBA player Lisa Leslie was vibrant and bright in a sunflower draped dress. It contrasted perfectly against her skin. She accented it with a box clutch, gold arm asp, bracelets and fan earrings. The sports commentator went with ringlets but would have looked better if it was an updo. She didn’t present but is the only athlete among the bunch!

 

 

 

WNBA’s Glory Johnson is expecting twins after Brittney Griner breakup

 

 

WNBA star Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock announced today that she is expecting twins. 

She posted a photo of her ultrasound showing the two embryos on her Instagram page today with the caption:

 

“It’s not a surprise for me because this is what we planned for with the IVF Cycle, though hearing their hearts beat for time was the most ASTONISHING thing I have ever heard in my ENTIRE LIFE. For 15 years Double-Doubles came with hardwork and dedication… Now I’ve been blessed by God to have ‘double doubles’ for the rest of my life! Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalms 127:3 #IAmBlessedToHaveThemWithMe #LifeIsAboutToGetInteresting #TWINS”

Johnson recently split with longtime girlfriend Brittney Griner with whom she was briefly married before Griner filed for an annulment.

  

 Before the rocky relationship ended with the Phoenix Mercury star player, the two announced together they were expecting a child. 

Since then, Griner disclaimed knowing anything about the pregnancy in her court documents requesting the annulment. 

Johnson later told her side of the story.

“I am truly really saddened by the recent turn of events and was not expecting to have our marriage end so abruptly,” she told Us Weekly on June 12. “At no stage was Brittney pressured to undertake the fertility process. In fact, throughout the entire process, Brittney was a willing participant, consenting and signing all the necessary documents that needed to be signed in order to move forward with the treatments.”

Johnson recently told the Associated Press that she has moved on  

“I am ready to begin focusing on my health, pregnancy, and am going to remain in Tulsa to continue to build my relationship with the Tulsa Shock organization, and my teammates,” she said.

Looks like it for sure though her caption today suggests again that it was a joint decision for Johnson to have two embryos implanted. 

Congrats to her. 

Photos: Instagram 

Split Already: Brittney Griner files for annulment, disclaims Johnson’s pregnancy

 

brittney griner

No, this is not a storyline from the Young and the Restless but could be.

In one week, it was reported widely among the general public that WNBA players Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson had gotten into a violent domestic altercation in April that landed them both in jail, but that the couple married the following month and announced only this week that the two were expecting their first child as a couple.

Before the week was officially over, news came out that Griner filed  for an annulment from her marriage to Johnson.

TMZ  revealed on Friday court documentation Griner filed where she cites that the marriage was based on “fraud and duress.”

The Phoenix Mercury  player  also stated in the court papers that she has “no biological connection” to Johnson’s baby and is unaware of the circumstances behind Johnson’s pregnancy.

us weekly photo

It’s confusing because only the day before Johnson posted on her Instagram account a photo of Griner caressing her pregnant bump. She captioned the photo:

“One day until I’m reunited with my Wife @brittneygriner, This is about to be one CRAZY SUMMER!!! #TooExcited #NewLife #NewAdditionToTheFamily.”

Johnson’s rep issued to TMZ this response to news of Griner’s annulment request:

Glory wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt Brittney and has tried her best to protect her and their marriage. Obviously this marriage was about them starting their life together. Glory is the sweetest thing in the world and she was dedicated to their partnership. She knows how important marriage is and made a lifetime’s commitment and decision to spend the rest of her life with Brittney.

What a Roller coaster!

Recall during the debate over the re authorization of the Violence Against Women Act  in Congress a few years back, several groups came forward to fight for the inclusion of women in same-sex relationships to ensure they are also protected.  Apparently, there is a high rate of underreported violence in lesbian relationships, as written about in The Atlantic.

We hope for the baby’s sake that all the conflicts will be resolved before he or she is born.

photo: Getty, collage US Weekly

Androgynous Maternity as rocked by Ciara, Beyonce & Kim Kardashian

When Ciara showed up to the 2014 MusicCares Gala in a navy Lanvin mens style pinstripe suit, many scrubbed their chins, cocked their heads and went, “hmmmm.”   Not all were convinced at how fashion forward the look was for maternity wear.

Little did they know she was only channeling the spirit of her fore-mothers who rocked Androgynous maternity before her.

Behold:

Ciara has been wearing androgynous looks this pregnancy like Beyonce & Kim Kardashian did before her.

Meanwhile, the first openly gay woman athlete to sign a Nike modeling contract, WNBA player Brittney Griner was signed to model men’s apparel.
And as an ESPN.com story about the deal noted: 

Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters. No sports apparel company has taken it a step further and expressly targeted the gender-fluid crowd — and whether Nike is willing to ride the edge with Griner remains to be seen. “We can’t get into specifics,” says Nike spokesman Brian Strong, “but it’s safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold.

The former Baylor women’s player and current Phoenix Mercury star won the ESPY award for best female athlete in 2011 and rocked the red carpet in men’s wear the following two years.

The era of androgyny has been a thing for a while now, but is mos def an “in” thing again.

h/t

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 The Fashion Culturalist